Uddhav Thackeray feels slighted at late invite for Modi functions; skips events
The decision of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bhoomipujan functions for the Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills and two metro lines in the city today has once again brought to the fore the simmering tension between two coalition partners in the state government. Thackeray left for a tour of the Marathwada region on a day the prime minister is in the city. On Saturday, the Sena had issued a whip asking its leaders not attend Modi’s programmes.
Mumbai: The decision of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bhoomipujan functions for the Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills and two metro lines in the city on Sunday has once again brought to the fore the simmering tension between two coalition partners in the state government. Thackeray left for a tour of the Marathwada region on a day the prime minister is in the city. On Saturday, the Sena had issued a whip asking its leaders not attend Modi’s programmes.
Stating that it was planned programme, Sena leaders said Uddhav went on tour to Marathwada region to provide financial assistance to the distressed farmers. He will distribute Rs 10,0000 each to one thousand farmers in Beed district of Marathwada region. All senior party ministers and leaders are accompanying him.
Insiders in the party, however, say the Sena is unhappy about getting the invitation for the prime minister's only a day before the actual event and is also angry with the BJP for taking all the credit for both the projects.
“We have respect for Ambedkar. But, while the organizing today’s programme our chief Uddhav Thackeray was not taken in confidence. It is not clear whether it is a programme of the government or of the BJP. It is completely wrong to give an invitation a day before the event. Uddhav Thackeray is not a small leader,” said Ramdas Kadam, cabinet minister and senior party leader.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state president Raosaheb Danve personally called on Ambedkar's heirs Prakash and Anandraj and four small alliance partners leaders Ramdas Athawale, Raju Shetty, Vinayak Mete and Mahadeo Jankar to invite them for the bhoomipujan programme. But, they avoided calling on the Shiv Sena president.
On Saturday, the BJP put the responsibility on cabinet minister Prakash Mehta to invite Uddhav to the programme. However, he refused to accept the invitation. Danve, the state BJP president, later appealed all leaders to set aside the issue of prestige and accept the invitation.
Another Sena leader said that the BJP is politicizing the event with an eye on Bihar elections.
The rift between the saffron parties has been widening over various issues in the past few months. Last month, the Sena had opposed the eight-day meat ban demand of BJP leaders during the paryushan, a Jain religious ritual. Recently, the Sena forced the organizers to cancel the Pakistan ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai despite the chief minister’s assurance that security would be provided for the event.
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